The recent victory of the centre-right Austrian People’s Party shows that the right is still rising, but the centre-left progressives can win again.
One of this week’s main stories was the victory of the centre-right in Austria. Led by Sebastian Kurz, who is set to become the world’s youngest national leader, they pulled off a remarkable feat taking his party from third in the polls to first, in a matter of weeks. On the other hand, it was a bruising night for the left, the Social-Democrats went from first to second and barely beat the far-right FPÖ who benefited from a campaign dominated by immigration.
The Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz. (Wikipedia / Dragan Tatic)
If you are a progressive centre-left moderate, you can be excused for being pessimistic over the last few years. Since 2015, Britain has voted to leave the EU, Donald Trump has become President, Labour and the Conservatives have been captured by their fringes, the far-right won seats in the German Parliament, and now, the Austrian People’s Party has won more seats than their Social-Democratic rivals.
But that’s not to say that we have no reason to be hopeful. In New Zealand, Labor’s Jacinda Ardern is set to become the country’s Prime Minister. In Britain, the Conservative’s are lagging behind Labour in polls and, in America, President Trump’s approval rating is languishing at -20 and, contrary to public opinion the Democratic Party have scores of fresh faces — from Tammy Duckworth to Jason Kander — who could lead the party to power.
The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. (Wikipedia / Labour Party)
The centre-left is needed now more than ever. Its values of fairness, equality and its unashamedly pro-European stance is vital in a time where immigrants are scapegoated for the society’s problems and where Britain is attempting to commit an act of great political self-harm; trying to leave its biggest trade partner. From issues surrounding wealth inequality and health care to racism, sexism and discrimination the centre-left can provide the answers needed to solve the society’s most pressing issues. But, to put these policies into place, they first need to win elections.
They can do this; they just need a message that resonates with voters, a distinct vision and a charismatic leader to package their innovative policies and ideas.🔷